Zermatt Before the Tourists?

Hello from the Swiss Alps! I’m in the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn, in the little town of Zermatt. Zermatt is extremely touristy, but once upon a time, it was a humble village of farmers. Walking down into town from the high lift stations, you pass through hamlets with 300-year-old buildings of stone and larch — and it’s easy to imagine a simpler time.

An advantage of being here before the summer peak season hits is that there are no crowds. While high-country hikes are snowed in, lots of low-elevation hikes through little farm hamlets (which are filled with Airbnb guests in the summer) are empty and evoke the old days. Join me as I imagine Zermatt once upon a time, long, long ago…with more cows than tourists.